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Growing More Rice with Less Water: The System of Rice Intensification and Rice Productivity in Vietnam

Guven, Cahit and Tong, Lan and Ulubasoglu, Mehmet (2021): Growing More Rice with Less Water: The System of Rice Intensification and Rice Productivity in Vietnam.

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Abstract

We study the effects of a large-scale System of Rice Intensification (SRI) program on the water productivity of rice in Vietnam by exploiting the provincial and time variations in SRI uptake and irrigation water supply over the period 2000–2012. Our findings document that the world’s second-largest rice exporter could produce four million tons of more rice with same water supply in the reasonably achievable case of 20% SRI uptake across its provinces. In addition, we find that SRI increases the output of other crops too, due at least partly to its possible water savings and soil nutrition preservation in rice production. Moreover, we show that SRI is more likely to be adopted in provinces with stronger quality of provincial institutions and weaker agricultural capital base. Numerous selectivity and randomization tests affirm that the water productivity effect of SRI is robust to selection in SRI uptake at province and district levels and addressing potential unobservables and omitted variables problems.

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